Before embarking on a career as an insurance agent, Tony Hills worked in the automotive industry for 16 years. Mostly, he was selling cars and ignoring his younger brother, who kept pestering him to go into selling insurance part-time.
“I didn’t have time,” Hills remembers. “He kept saying I’d be good at it, that I’m a people-person so I eventually ended up taking the Colorado life insurance exam and got licensed.”
At first Hills was selling life insurance part-time while selling cars. He was only working about 12 hours a month on insurance sales. However, when car sales started to slip, he was making more money selling insurance part-time than at the dealership working full-time . Two years ago, he went full-time with Family First Life (FFL).
Hills sells term life, whole life, universal life, final expense, mortgage protection and annuities.. “What’s most challenging about selling life insurance is getting people to pick up the phone and commit to an appointment,” he explains. “They’ll even reconfirm the appointment but when you call they don’t pick up! This has been my biggest issue with selling insurance.”
Of course, Hills sends the prospective client a text or email saying you missed your appointment, but if he doesn’t hear back, he moves on to the next person. “If people want the help, they’ll make time for you, especially if they got a quote and you can give them immediate coverage without waiting two years.”
Working at FFL, Hills is assigned 12 carriers so he is able to fit each prospect with the right carrier. What he hates most are chargebacks so he makes sure to fully understand his client’s needs before matching them with a policy.
“When a client cancels a policy, you are left owing the insurer money,” Hills explains. “I had a lot of chargebacks when I first started, about 45% of my sales, but now I hardly ever see any. I ask more questions now, to make sure the customer can afford the policy I’m selling for the long haul. You don’t want to find out six months down the line that they can’t afford it and want a chargeback.”
When it comes to finding active shoppers, Hills leans on SmartFinancial and a couple of other lead generation companies. “Buying leads brings in a more serious buyer,” he explains. He buys data leads, mainly shared ones, which are the most cost effective for his agency.
“We have bought 493 leads since we started,” says Hill. “We’ve sold about 20 policies so far. That’s a 3% acquisition rate with $99.20 cost per acquisition. I am happy with that.” Whenever he gets a rejection, Hills asks why they filled out the SmartFinancial questionnaire. “I try to find out what they don’t like about me or the product I am selling. If the monthly payment is too high, which is usually the case, I try to find something more reasonable for that client. Basically, I try to keep them on the phone and get them to buy.”
This strategy has been working for Hills, who is looking to grow his agency in the near future. For now, the only other active agent on his team is his wife!
6 Golden Sales Tips from Tony Hills
- Realize that it’s a volume game so start off with a budget you can accord. Test the waters to see what’s working and what’s not before you spend everything you’ve got.
- Keep your door open to more than one lead vendor. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If a company shuts down, you need to keep getting leads.
- Listen to as many podcasts and training videos as you can on YouTube and training, especially phone and telesales training.
- When you’re with the client, by phone or Zoom, ask more in-depth questions to figure out why they filled out the form to weed out those who are not serious.
- Find out what is too high a payment before you give up on a prospect. See what you can make fit their profile.
- Try to have fun with this. You won’t necessarily make the sale in one day. Just follow up with clients on a regular basis to see where they are with the process and don’t give up.